Karume warns against GNU split

  • Stresses negotiations to resolve contentious issues

ZANZIBAR: FORMER Zanzibar President Dr Amani Abeid Karume has warned against the breakup of the Government of National Unity (GNU) as the most dangerous route for islanders to take.

He has instead implored the wrangling parties to sit down and deliberate on all contentious issues for the social and economic prosperity of the country and all its people, saying, “Nothing is impossible under the sun.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) editorial team in his Unguja office, Dr Karume said, “Challenges are part and parcel of human life… let the differing parties sit, talk, and amicably resolve their differences.”

Zanzibaris, through the July 31, 2010, referendum, voted for a new government structure, introducing the GNU, hopefully with a lasting solution to the chronic pre- and postelection conflicts in mind.

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Although Zanzibar had experienced several conflicts since the 1957 general elections, the 2000 post-general election clashes, which pitted the then main opposition Civic United Front (CUF) against the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) were the worst, generating Tanzanian refugees for the first time in history.

Former Zanzibar President Dr Karume says the 2000 skirmishes, which affected mostly Pemba islands, culminated in their conciliations, resulting in the GNU.

“We had to work out an effective and lasting solution to the problem; and the GNU was the most visible option that we came up with,” says Dr Karume.

Unfortunately, ACT-Wazalendo, the main opposition party, which currently partners with the ruling CCM in the GNU has threatened to pull out of the government over what it describes as “unfulfilled demands.

” But the system’s co-architecture believes in negotiations as the best approach to address contentious issues. “We don’t run to the road when we face challenges; we instead convene on the table to deliberate,” argues the sixth-phase isles leader.

The former leader reminds the islanders to embrace the GNU, which he says the country had invested heavily in its formation.

“The process to the GNU was long, tedious, and highly demanding; it wasn’t as simple as some people might think.” Dr Karume expresses dismay over leaders who prefer running instead of confronting problems.

He describes the best leader as the one who resolves issues through deliberations.

He argues, “It surprises me seeing public leaders who don’t want to address their issues through talks… they better stay home with their families instead.”

Zanzibar’s founding President Abeid Amani Karume’s first-born perceives the GNU breakup as not only politically unjustifiable but also “the most dangerous route to walk.”

Dr Karume and former CUF leader, the late Seif Sharif Hamad, are the brains behind the GNU, which started in the post-2010 general elections, which saw Dr.Ali Mohamed Shein winning the presidency and Maalim Sharif becoming the First Vice President under the new government structure.

The union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar is another national treasure, Dr Karume wishes to see under the protection of all Tanzanians, saying leaders and citizens have the responsibility of protecting and sustaining the bond’s firm foundations.

“Our union has remained strong and active for all those years (six decades) because their founders formed it on strong foundations,” he says, arguing that the impressive social and economic development that Zanzibar enjoys today is courtesy of the union.

Tanganyika’s Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and his Zanzibar counterpart Abeid Amani Karume agreed to officially unite their two independent countries and form the United Republic of Tanzania on April 26, 1964.

The only union that has survived a myriad of political and economic turbulence in Africa and perhaps the world over commemorated its 60th anniversary at Dar es Salaam’s Uhuru stadium just last Friday.

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